Cup Half Full

Wow, here we are at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. My cup is more than half full; it overflows.  Why would I say that during a resurging pandemic? I say it because we will get through this period together and be on to a better time.  No, I am not ignoring the elephant in the room, the Omicron virus that is spreading so quickly.  However, I have learned so much about how to deal with a pandemic.  I have learned that we need to take collective action. Our medical community and scientists have made leaps in treatment, and Omicron symptoms appear not to be as severe as the Delta variant, particularly among those vaccinated.

Boomers Head for the Exit

I find myself feeling the absence of colleagues and friends who have retired and moved to warmer climates. I wish them well.  As boomers retire and leave the workforce, they take a lifetime of experience with them as well as the contribution they made in their work roles.  Just as we boomers put the strain on the school system growing up, healthcare will become our focus. We will also be looking for ways to live independently and remain in our homes longer.  My recent move from a suburban multi-story house to a one-floor condominium reflects this trend.

IRL (In Real Life) or Metaverse

My millennial friends speak in terms of IRL, Web 3.0 and the Metaverse.  They patiently explain to me what these terms me.  They also help me to master the Zoom mute button remembering to turn it off when speaking. I am growing comfortable and, in some cases, prefer virtual meetings because of less time on the road.   However, I understand that my extrovert friends need the IRL (in real life) connection.  Web 3.0, along with remote work and work from anywhere, gives us virtual reality meetings with highspeed broadband, AR (Augmented Realty) and VR (Virtual Realty Goggles) edging their way into VR meeting rooms and on to the factory floor for training purposes. We will continue to move toward the Metaverse, a virtual universe where we live in a virtual world through our avatars as described in the science fiction book, Snow Crash.

Kinks in the Supply Chain

Supply chain disruptions will continue to provide opportunities to find a “work-around.”  For example, LL Bean tells me that they will let me know when the slacks I ordered back in November ship.  The empty bins at the drug store and the scarcity of COVID home test kits are other examples of kinks in the supply chain.  Somewhere in the supply chain is this enormous pile of test kits and my slacks.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Blockchain makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (digital money) possible by providing an encrypted, widely distributed ledger page that creates a trusted and mathematically verified record of transactions and ownership.   We will continue to see the expansion of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and other tokens, attract investors, particularly millennials.

Generally, my baby boomer friends prefer to invest in those things that we can touch and feel, like real estate, and have avoided the highly volatile cryptocurrency market.  However, the rate of return on investment in cryptocurrency has exceeded all other forms of investment including the stock market, real estate, and gold in 2021. I expect this trend to continue and accelerate as more people look for alternative currencies to reduce the impact inflation is having on our buying power.  Our government will continue to issue more currency, further diluting the value of the dollar in 2022 with real inflation (things we buy) hitting 15-20%.

In 2021, at the encouragement of millennial friends, I began to explore cryptocurrencies as a possible hedge against inflation. So, I opened an account on Coinbase, put in “real” dollars, and made a few purchases of imaginary tokens: Mana, LCX, JASMY, and BTC specifically.  Stay tuned, and I will report the results next month.  So far, it is below my stock portfolio in the rate of return and is much more volatile with hourly swings of 10-20 percent.  Word to the wise: turn off notifications as cryptocurrency fluctuation in value can be distracting and, depending on the direction, cause joy or anxiety.

Wrapping Up 2021 and Moving On to 2022

As I look over my shoulder at 2021, I feel gratitude for my health, relationships, and meaningful work I’ve had to do.  This past year reminded me to value time and do my best to spend it wisely.  The New Year gives me hope for a new beginning to learn, explore, and try not to take myself too seriously as I watch the squirrel out my window “sharing” the birdseed with my feathered friends.

Thank you for your readership!

Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year.